Do you really need to collect customer service feedback?

Customer service feedback is rapidly becoming one of the most crucial assets to businesses of all sizes. It is one of the most effective ways of encouraging business growth and boosting customer retention. Research from the Harvard Business Review has revealed that simply asking for customer service feedback can incentivise customers to return to your brand again, even if they don’t respond to your email.

Consumer psychology shows that even the simplest customer service feedback survey will appeal to your client’s desire to be heard and nurtured. Asking for their opinions can reinforce any positive feelings they might already have for your brand. Not only that, but just the process of asking feedback questions can force customers to make judgements about your businesses that they may have never considered before.

Focusing on customer service feedback isn’t just about the act of asking the questions and the benefits that can bring, but also the vital insights it can provide for your company. You can begin to understand your products and service from your audiences’ point of view, which is invaluable when making big business decisions. In this guide, we are sharing everything you need to know about customer service feedback and looking into whether you really need to be collecting it.

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What is customer service feedback and why is it so important?

Customer service feedback is the insights, information, issues and input that your consumers share about their experiences with your business. Whenever a customer interacts with your brand, whether they contact your team or purchase a product online, they are forming an opinion about your business. Customer service feedback is all about finding out what that opinion is, and how they got to it.

It is essential that you don’t confuse customer service feedback with product feedback, as they are two very different aspects. Product feedback is what your customers think of your products, and any suggestions, likes and dislikes they have which you can use to improve them in future. Customer service feedback is much more focused on the overall experience they have with your brand. It encompasses your website, physical store, team members, marketing messages and so much more.

Customer service is more important now than it has ever been before. Consumers are given so much choice between brands and products now, and customer service is a key deciding factor in many buying decisions. 54% of customers expect higher levels of customer service now than they did one year ago, and 96% say that service is an important factor when choosing loyalty to a brand.

Gathering customer service feedback can help your business in so many ways, making it one of the most powerful strategies you can adopt. It can improve your marketing efforts, product development, operation management and so much more. Taking the time to listen to your customers not only shows them that you care about their views, but it is the only way you can truly move your business forward for success. These insights can act as a guiding resource for growing your company, by revealing what you are doing right and what you are getting wrong.

Some businesses believe that customer service feedback is only going to be beneficial if it is positive and can be used to portray their brand in a good light to future consumers. The truth is, negative feedback is often more powerful than glowing reviews. If your customers are telling you there is something they don’t like about your business, you will know exactly what you need to change and how. Not only that but having negative feedback published online for others to see isn’t all bad either. 85% of customers actively look for negative reviews during their research phase, and this feedback is important for helping them make a final decision.

What customer service feedback questions should you ask?

One of the biggest challenges that businesses have when collecting customer service feedback is knowing the right questions to ask. The questions you choose will help you get the answers you need to really benefit your brand. Asking the wrong questions will be a waste of time and won’t deliver any real value or useful insights from your audience.

As we mentioned previously, customer service feedback is all about the service you are providing, and not your specific products. Avoid asking product-related questions or generating feedback about certain features of your products. This is also crucial information to have but will form part of your product review strategy as opposed to your customer service feedback strategy.

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When writing your customer service feedback questions, you need to ask a bit about your customers as well as their opinions on your business. Asking consumers about themselves is vital for creating personas and understanding exactly who your customers are. You can then break your questions down to address different areas of your business, such as marketing, your website, communication efforts and anything else you want to know about.

These are some of the most effective customer service feedback questions to ask:

  • Where did you hear about us? This question is great for understanding which of your marketing strategies are working well and which are not performing.

  • Why did you choose our product/service over other options? Here you can begin to understand your position within your competitor set and what factors are most important to your customers. You could discover a new competitive advantage that you didn’t even know about.

  • How likely are you to recommend us to friends and family? Asking this question and getting customers to rank on a scale of one to ten is essential for calculating your Net Promoter Score (NPS). When a customer is willing to recommend your service then it is a great indicator of how well you are doing.

  • Were your expectations met, unmet or exceeded? This can give you a good idea of what customers were expecting from your business and how well your service lived up to that. If customers’ expectations were not met, then you should ask the reasons why.

  • What did you enjoy most about your experience? Asking this question can provide insights into what it is about your brand that consumers truly value. It could be your friendly team, your easy-to-use website or your amazing products, but being aware of this is crucial.

  • What would you change about your experience? Here you can give your customers the chance to provide some constructive criticism or let you know what else you could do to make their experience even better.

How can I start collecting customer service feedback?

Once you’ve decided that collecting customer service feedback is vital for your business, you might be wondering where to begin. You know the benefits of getting feedback, and you know the questions you want to ask, but how exactly do you go about it?

There are various things to consider when it comes to collecting customer service feedback, including the tools you are going to use, the methods you choose and when you should contact your customers. One of the most popular options for gathering feedback from existing customers is over email because it is convenient, inexpensive and immediate.

When to ask for feedback

Timing is so important when it comes to customer service feedback. Ask too early and customers haven’t had a chance to use your service or fully experience your brand yet but ask too late and your business will no longer be fresh in their minds. There is a small window of opportunity for customer feedback and getting it just right can help you get the most out of your responses.

Ultimately, the perfect time to ask for feedback will depend on your business model or product. You need to give customers enough time to use your product or service, get to grips with it and ask any questions they might have, without leaving it so long that they have forgotten. Here are some guidelines for when to ask for customer service feedback depending on your business

  • Product purchases: Usually, when a customer purchases a product from a business, you won’t hear from them again unless there is an issue. Remember that you are looking for service feedback and not product reviews here, so it is essential you ask customers for their opinions not too long after purchasing. Getting in touch a week after a customer has bought a product is a good idea. It gives them enough time to have received the product if it was being delivered, unbox it and speak with your customer services team if they need to. Longer than this, and they could quickly forget all about their purchasing experience and the service you provided.

  • Contract services: When you offer a contract service, you can’t ask for feedback as soon as a customer signs up. The chances are they won’t know much about your service or have a solid opinion on your brand for a little while yet. Depending on the length of your contracts, it is good to contact customers about halfway through the service. This gives them enough time to form an honest opinion, and also gives you enough time to make amendments if required.

  • Hybrid services and products: Some businesses offer a blend of both product and service, such as airlines or hotels. Gathering customer service feedback for this type of offering should generally be done about 24 hours after completion. Trying to collect feedback midway through the service, such as during a flight, isn’t giving customers enough time to experience your entire offering, but wait too long and it won’t be fresh in their minds.

What platforms and tools are best for customer service feedback?

Next up is deciding the best platforms and tools for collecting customer service feedback for your business. Choosing the right technologies here can help you gather the right information, collate your data effortlessly and make it easy for customers to provide feedback. The last thing you want is to put obstacles in the way of your clients getting back to you, and choosing tools which make it simple and quick for them to complete will improve your responses.

Surveys

Customer service feedback surveys are easily the most popular way of businesses capturing this information. There are many different companies out there offering tools for easy surveys. Some are very basic and just provide a quick survey which you can send to customers, while others have a range of advanced features.

There are various types of surveys which can be used for collecting feedback. Long-form surveys are common as they can provide detailed insights from customers. They allow you to use open-ended questions so customers can answer with exactly what they want you to know. Multiple-choice questions are also a good choice for some questions because they are quick and easy to complete.

Another option for surveys to gather customer service feedback is on-page or in-app surveys. These are usually short, simple questions which appear as customers are using your website or application. A handful of closed questions is the best option for this type of survey, because you don’t want to interfere with what the customers was originally doing on your site.

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Customer service feedback platforms

Customer feedback platforms are designed specifically to help businesses collect and review customer service feedback. They are great for delving into the insights your feedback contains and can work to identify unhappy customers and highlight areas for change. There are many options for customer feedback platforms, and the right one for you will vary depending on your needs, goals and budget. Some popular platforms are:

  • Feefo: At Feefo customer service feedback is exactly what we do. Our innovative technology can be used to build surveys and contact previous customers automatically. All the feedback is gathered and displayed in a simple dashboard, so you can see your insights at a glance. All reviews are verified, so you can be sure that all your feedback is from real, existing customers. We also have many other features such as review widgets for websites, API integrations and more.
  • TrustPilot: This is another customer feedback tool similar to Feefo. TrustPilot is a Danish brand offering surveys, insights and other tools for feedback. Unlike other tools, TrustPilot allows non-verified reviews on their platform.
  • ReeVoo: ReeVoo also has a platform for customer reviews, which can be used for customer service feedback. Its technology is set up specifically for product reviews and is an excellent option for product page widgets and product-specific feedback, rather than customer service.
  • SurveyMonkey: If you are looking for a simple survey tool, then SurveyMonkey could be a great option. They are used by many businesses all across the globe to send one-off surveys to a customer list. SurveyMonkey isn’t a complete customer feedback tool but is perfect for simple survey sending.

How to monitor customer service feedback?

Collecting customer service feedback through surveys and reviews is an excellent start for your strategy. Once you have collected this data, it is critical that you effectively monitor and collate it. You can use the information gathered to reveal useful insights into your business, and base future decisions on your findings. These aren’t the only tools for monitoring your customer service levels, and there are various other ways you can do this. Using survey feedback alongside other methods is a great way to get a complete overview of your customer satisfaction levels. Some other options for monitoring customer service feedback include:

Social listening

Social listening is a strategy used to track online mentions and conversations about your brand. Sometimes, customers will leave feedback about your customer service without telling you directly, and social listening can help you pick up on this. It generally involves social media monitoring but can also include online reviews on third-party platforms such as Google.

A huge 55% of customers aged between 18 and 34 have used social media to praise a brand for its customer service. If you aren’t paying attention to what is being said about your business online, you could be missing out on valuable feedback from your audience. It isn’t just about taking on board the messages you receive on social media but listening out for the conversations people are having around your company. There are various platforms out there that provide social listening tools to help monitor your customer feedback online.

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is an automated process which highlights customer emotions and opinions in online feedback. It is an excellent tool to use alongside customer service surveys, as it can quickly pull out the main themes of the reviews and provide insights. For example, if customers are often leaving reviews to say they aren’t happy with delivery times, then sentiment analysis can pull this out for you. It works by using various algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to detect different patterns in the reviews and sort them as either positive, negative or neutral.

Customer service metrics

There are a few customer service metrics which you should monitor closely when you are collecting service feedback. Written reviews and lengthy feedback are great sometimes, but in some cases, you just need hard numbers to analyse and compare. Some common metrics for customer service feedback include:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is used to measure customer loyalty and the likelihood that they will recommend you to others. It is a score between one and ten, and can help you to categorise customers into either promoters, passives or detractors.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): This metric demonstrates how satisfied customers are with your service levels. CSAT can be calculated by having customers complete a simple survey, and it is a powerful metric to measure over time.
  • Customer Effect Score (CES): CES provides an indication of how your products or services are benefitting customers, and how much effort they are for customers to use. It is collected by asking customers to agree or disagree with a simple statement about your brand, using a numbered scale.

Why do I need to collect customer service feedback?

Collecting customer service feedback offers many benefits for companies operating in every industry. Whether you are a small, independent brand or a global organisation, gathering and monitoring your customer service feedback is crucial for success. It can reveal unknown information about your business, such as potential competitive advantages or customer pain points you had never considered. Using customer service feedback when making decisions about your business can help you to improve your overall competition and remain competitive in an ever-changing landscape. It can be vital for addressing what your customers want and need, and with time, your business will flourish from it.

Putting in the time and effort to collect customer feedback can also help to boost customer retention and brand loyalty among your existing consumers. When you take an interest in their opinions and reach out for their views on your business and products, they are sure to come back to you time and time again. Even more so if you are taking their feedback on board and constantly making improvements to your company. When you make changes based on customer service feedback, you are sure to see your NPS, CSAT and CES metrics rise.

Customer feedback is crucial for driving new business as well as retaining old. Consumers are always on the lookout for reviews from past customers and showcasing these can help potential customers choose you over the competition. By demonstrating to your audience that you have excellent levels of customer service, they will naturally incorporate this into their buying decisions.

At Feefo, we provide customer insights on your customer service feedback, which allows you to track various aspects of your business performance. These insights can be used internally to help your teams understand what is working well and what requires improvement, or you can choose to make them public for your customers to see. Discover more information on insight tagging on the Feefo website.

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Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.


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